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RCSD high schoolers start getting take-home Chromebooks

September 04, 2019 05:20 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — For the first time ever, Rochester City School kids will get to take home Chromebooks.

If they need access to the internet, they’ll get that too. It’s all part of a new program RCSD is rolling out in all of its high schools.

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The first day of school was like Christmas for 11th grader Taylor Walker.

 “I always wanted a laptop, and I always needed it to type up papers...it's going to be easier,” she told News10NBC as she was picking up her new Chromebook.  

Walker and her classmates at Wilson Magnet High School are the first in the district to get take-home Chromebooks.  

“I have a laptop at home, but it's raggedy, so I think it'll help a lot, because it's just like easier. I'll be like okay, I know this is due, a lot of our stuff is online and we are in Google classroom, a lot of our stuff is through Goggle docs and slides, so it's just easier for us to log on and get it done,” said 12th Grader Jaden Towsend.  

Students who don’t have access to the internet at home will also get what’s called a Mi-Fi device, courtesy of the One-Million Project Foundation, which gives free high speed access to the World Wide Web wherever they are. 

“I think it's very beneficial because that means nobody should be failing at all.  And that's a reason they use, they [are] like 'we don't have Wi-Fi, we don't have a laptop', I think it's perfect for kids that are not as fortunate as other kids,” said Towsend.  

RCSD estimates more than 40% of its students don’t have reliable internet access at home and even those that do typically have to share one computer with several other family members. 

“Just seeing their (students) faces walk into the auditorium today, and then even more their faces walking out with the devices in their snazzy little packs, which are not like typical laptop bags,” said RCSD Superintendent Terry Dade.  

Dade believes technology at the fingertips of his students whenever they need it doesn’t put them ahead but does put them on par with students in suburban districts. 

“This is an example of the opportunity gap, that — getting our students here in Rochester City to have the same tools that their counterparts have across the nation like Chromebooks and technology at home to complete assignments,” he said.

While RCSD paid for the Chromebook, the Sprint Foundation will pay for the Mi-Fis and the internet service for students who need it.  

The students and parents have to sign for the computer and return them in good shape at the end of the school year.  Students at three high schools in the district will get their Chromebooks this week, while the rest of the high school students will get them over the course of the next few months.  

Credits

Jennifer Lewke

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